So many people get this so horribly wrong. Especially on social media, the exclamation point is probably the most abused punctuation. I have friends and colleagues who overuse exclamations like nobody’s business. I probably overuse it a little myself. In fact, earlier posts on this very blog have probably one exclamation too many.
I read somewhere that for most people, one exclamation per month of writing is all that is actually needed if used the right way. I know people who use an average of one per sentence.
“Exclamation points were originally called the “note of admiration.” They are still, to this day, used to express excitement. They are also used to express surprise, astonishment, or any other such strong emotion. Any exclamatory sentence can be properly followed by an exclamation mark, to add additional emphasis.”
With the increasing use of social media to express opinions on every single issue these days, people use exclamation points even when completely unnecessary. Good writing should convey the same excitement with an appropriate choice of words rather than rely on punctuation to express strong emotion.
The most abhorrent of all exclamation point abuses is the use of multiple exclamation points. I know people who use five to six after wishing anyone about anything. Sample this:
Happy Birthday XYZ!!!!!!
It’s as if he was even more excited about XYZ’s birthday than his own.
I think it’s high time the exploitation of this punctuation be made a worldwide crime and exemplary action be taken against the offenders.